The 5 Best Ways to Beat the Vancouver Cold

Posted on January 14, 2017 - Whether you’re a long-time resident or just visiting the city for a few days, dealing with Vancouver’s wet, slushy winters can be a bone-shivering ordeal.

Winter hit Vancouver with a bang this December, as snow blanketed the region. Combined with temperatures regularly below freezing, many Vancouverites were caught off guard and left out in the cold.

Fortunately the trials of winter aren’t as bad as they could be if people take the right precautions, all it takes is a little preparation. Here’s five tips to help you overcome the ice and snow as you attempt to traverse another Vancouver winter.

Dress Appropriately

Those $200 sneakers you just bought? Soaked in seconds. That super soft hoodie you love? Nothing more than a sopping wet shroud in the snow. Make sure your shoes and outer layers are as waterproof as possible. Beneath that you can wear something comfortable and warm. You’ll be thankful for some good quality gloves and a long scarf, too.

And even though scientists debunked the myth that most of the body’s heat is lost through the head, a good hat can’t be understated. Plus, that umbrella you keep in the car for the beautiful Raincouver spring is ideal for keeping your head dry in the falling snow and that biting wind off your face.

Amazingly, people can still be seen walking around the city in shorts, talking about how much warmer it is in Vancouver than “back East.” For the rest of us with sanity, let’s make sure to cover up, dress in layers, and do our best to stay dry.

Think of Your Body as a Machine

Clothing is only half the battle however, as your body will be taxed with burning calories to keep you warm. In fact, a study conducted at a university in the Netherlands even posited that “regular exposure to mild cold may provide a healthy and sustainable alternative strategy for increasing energy expenditure.” Even shivering can increase one’s metabolic rate as much as five fold, the study added.

That doesn’t mean you can dig into that box of Timbits without guilt, thinking that you’ve shivered enough to earn it. Instead, give your body the types of foods it really needs, and keep snacks on hand.

Nuts like almonds and walnuts or dried fruit are great for getting that long-lasting, healthy energy your body needs this time of year.

Enjoy Indoor Activities

Vancouver truly has some of the best outdoor activities in the world. Unfortunately, short of hitting the slopes, there’s not much one can do to enjoy the great outdoors until Stanley Park starts to bloom. What a great opportunity to get in and check out some of the city’s amazing indoor activities.

Rock climbing, go-karts, roller derby and even laser tag can all be found indoors for the sportsperson, and it’s a great way to stay active on those short, cold days without having to hit the gym, or jog a frozen seawall.

You also don’t have to blow a bunch of money on expensive restaurants with expansive fireplaces to stay warm. Great indoor activities don’t need to be expensive.

On Tuesdays the Vancouver Art Gallery is free for art aficionados, while the Observatory at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vanier Park is by donation and a wealth of museums spread across the metro area offer engaging displays with affordable admission prices.

Keep a Cozy Home

Most likely though, you’re going to be spending most of your time at home, so you’ll want to make your personal living space as warm and cozy as possible. Some tips are simple, such as covering your windows with thick drapes to keep the cold at bay or lighting candles for that cozy feeling.

Others are less intuitive but can prove just as useful, like using a ceiling fan or taking a cold shower. Warm air rises, so a ceiling fan running on low can be used to push warm air back down, providing more even heat distribution.

As for showering, sure, hot water will provide instant relief for chilled bones, but cold showers have been proven to improve blood circulation and even strengthen your immune system.

Use Common Sense

Let’s be real. We all knew this was coming. Every year the same thing happens: It snows, and the city descends into chaos. Toes turn blue, trees collapse, and bumpers get dented.

However, if you know what you’re in for and prepare properly, both physically and mentally, surviving yet another Vancouver winter can be as easy as a summer breeze.

Written by Ken Hill
Freelance writer, editor, and father of two fur babies. Loves travel, history, politics, and unfortunately baklava. Won't rest until the Stanley Cup parades through Stanley Park. More articles by Ken Hill

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